Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
This entry to my blog might be more of a personal update than anything that might be meant to teach; but I know there are many out there who might be thinking about doing something about their life, and maybe my chronicles below will give you warning or encouragement.
God has certainly given me a new heart! When I left ministry, I was toast. Honestly I was concerned as to whether I could hold a job and work 8 hours a day. Would I ever enjoy anything other than taking time off? All I could look forward to was getting away, sure I would work and do my job, but that was it, I was always looking forward to when I could get home, better if I could get out of town.
I must say that the past few weeks have been a wonderful time. Mind you I have yet to make a cent, but I do have invoices out, so hopefully soon I will have made my first dollar post ministry. What makes so excited is that I see light at the end of the tunnel, and I past a sign a couple of days ago that said “the light you now see is probably not a high speed train bearing on your position”.
I have been working, and enjoying it! This may sound like a ridiculous statement, but believe me, it is a tremendous relief; I can still put my heart Into something.
So what does this have to do with anything but me? Well I took some advice from several sources, and stitched it all together, and the resultant has helped, so let me list those pieces of advice; maybe they will help someone.
- Seek God. OK, I was an Anglican Priest, this was my job, right? Well yes, but seeking means to follow, to learn and grow. I have spoken on this before on the blog and I don’t want to repeat but this is crucial. I see so many unhappy people; unhappy because they simply won’t follow where God is leading. Having done this myself for a few years, I found I needed a little more than keeping up my daily prayers. I needed others. As a priest I was alone in spirituality, and this hurt me more than I knew. I needed others so that I could be encouraged in my prayers. Everyone says they love a full church; it’s not because it tells of success (the church’s), but because so many worshipping together makes the Holy Spirit so apparent that one can’t help but be caught up. So I took a 30 minute break from work and I simply walked into the closest church to my work place. I asked what the daily schedule was. St. Patricks downtown has daily noon mass. So I went, even though I cannot yet receive. I went early just to pray, and found that they pray the rosary at 11:30 daily, just me and about 50 other folks. So now I take lunch at 11:30, and after I say the rosary, and sometimes attend mass, I am back at work by 1. Praying with others, especially the rosary (this is unique to me, you might have another service or prayer that is your favorite), has made me look forward to each and every day. Communion with God in the presence of other Christians is a sure source of rejuvenation. Seek others and then seek God in prayer.
- God made you to be productive, find your strengths and interests and be about them. As I left the ministry I found nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted to hire an ex-pastor. I was taken back, and yes, a little terrified that I was headed for ruin. But through prayer and sitting my self down and taking a talent inventory, I found the path. What could I do? What was I trained for, other than the ministry? I have a degree in Architecture, but I have no license and no experience for the past 20 years. But I know what goes into a building; and it came to me, real estate inspections. There was a training process, but this is something I could do. So I am testing for my license, many, many tests….but I digress, it goes well and I think soon I should have my license. While creating my company to make this happen, another great thing happened, a good friend and former parishioner called and offered me a chance, a chance to do estimations for his firm, and what a God send this has been! Again, it is requiring a learning curve, but it is in construction and I could not be happier to learn. At first it seemed as if I had no chance, now it seems that there is a chance, and I am once again exited to go into work everyday.
- Make sure to be diligent about steps one and two! It’s like the instructions on the shampoo bottle, lather, rinse, repeat! God opens the doors, we walk through them. A couple of these doors have been a few flights up, we have to put in the work! But from what I have learned, if we are following God’s lead, the energy to work will be there, we just have to fight the urge to relax, as that could still be a train coming through the tunnel!
Through prayer and following God, I have found a new heart. Please note that this does not mean all is peachy, or, heaven forbid, that all might fall in the ditch next week, stay tuned….but what it does mean is that I am witness to God raising me from a very low place, and I am very sure that He would do the same for any of His children, we simply have to follow His will.